BROOKINGS, S.D. (KELO) — A COVID-19 long-hauler is fed up with the lack of unity in response to the fast-spreading Delta variant. The 39-year-old Brookings woman came down with COVID-19 in September of 2020 and nearly a year later she is still suffering from debilitating symptoms.
KELOLAND News first brought you Amanda Quam’s story in December. She checks back in with her in this edition of COVID-19 beyond the numbers.
“Dealing and tolerating with a level of pain, which I just never had before. I didn’t have any of these before that day that I fell ill with COVID,”
It’s been a roller coaster ride for this COVID-19 long hauler. Young and fit, Amanda Quam never imaged she’d have chronic health issues after catching the virus.
“It’s frustrating because I have a lot of memories come up on Facebook and I see who I was a year ago and I’m not that person. I’m not there yet,” Quam said.
Doctors say COVID long-haulers have left them scratching their heads because modern medicine doesn’t have all the answers.
“And some of these patients, we can’t find an obvious diagnostic test that is abnormal, but yet they still have horrible debilitating symptoms of headaches, migraines, shortness of breath. chest pain, neurological memory issues that we just can’t explain,” Dr. Anthony Hericks, Avera Pulmonologist & Director of Critical Care said.
Quam: It feels like there are many people who are like, ‘I’m done. I’m over it. Let’s just keep living life.
Kennecke: And you can’t be over it?
Quam: No. For sure I can’t. My life is completely changed because of COVID.
However, Quam is now counted among the “recovered” in COVID-19 statistics.
“That is a joke. I’m not recovered. I don’t know what my future looks like,” Quam said.
“There is not a real tracking system to say how many of these people that got COVID, that actually survived COVID, ending up having these long-term symptoms,” Dr. Hericks said.
Medical studies are underway to follow some of these patients, but both Quam and Dr. Hericks say the potential for COVID-19 to have long term effects should be one more reason people take every necessary step to stop the spread.
“We are choosing to mitigate risk based on the assumption that all of their friends and family will recover, and it’s not going to have long-term impact and we don’t know these things,” Quam said.
Quam actually caught COVID-19 after her first vaccine dose — the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine are not considered fully effective until two weeks after the second dose — but didn’t have any symptoms that time. She also says the virus wreaked havoc with her hormones.
Dr. Hericks says he is most worried about unvaccinated children exposing the disease to others who won’t recover as well as many kids seem to be able to.